Dai Vernon and the Center Deal

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Postby Guest » 11/22/01 10:52 PM

I'm so glad that you published the article on Dai Vernon's search for the Center Deal.

Just by chance, I came across the original article last spring in a relatively obsucure magazine, and I bought several copies to give to friends. I'm glad to see that such a wonderful article will now be available to the very people who would miss it if it weren't reprinted in Genii.

Postby Sean Macfarlane » 11/29/01 09:40 PM

I loved the article on The Allan Kennedy and the center deal.I enjoyed hearing about Vernon laying on his heaviest moves for Mr. Kennedy and then being completely fooled by the center deal. Also the touch that was mentioned, that Mr. Kennedy had seen two other people with, it's a rare thing that touch, I've seen a couple of people with it recently at a convention. Andrew Wimhurst and Jason England.
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Postby Guest » 11/30/01 10:20 AM

Richard, thanks so much for procuring and expanding on the Kennedy Center Deal article! Has the author has been approached regarding film rights? To my eye -- with the right screenwriter, director, and cast -- what a movie this would make! Eccentric prince of the inner circle of Depression-era close-up magicians, with his green but gifted young El Paso sidekick in tow, sets off in a crazed quest for a rumored gambler and his legendary sleight. Can you just see it?

Not to attempt a hijacking of this thread (in which case please move this elsewhere), but would anyone care to play armchair casting director? Whom, among living talent, would you pick to play Vernon, Miller, Kennedy, Downs, Horowitz, and that jailed Mexican gambler?


Postby Geno Munari » 12/01/01 06:09 PM

Ralph Bonheim writes...

Whom, among living talent, would you pick to play Vernon, Miller, Kennedy, Downs, Horowitz, and that jailed Mexican gambler?"

Klause would be a great Vernon, no really, Joe Pecsi would be a great Vernon.

Jason Alexander for Charlie Miller. Rip Torn for Downs. I'll leave the other two up to you all...

[ December 01, 2001: Message edited by: Geno Munari ]

[ December 01, 2001: Message edited by: Geno Munari ]
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Postby Guest » 12/02/01 05:36 AM

Ooh, I like the Rip Torn choice. I'd cast Cary Elwes as Charlie Miller and either William H. Macy or Steve Buscemi as Allan Kennedy. Mexican gambler/killer: Benicio del Torro (no brainer). But I'm stuck on whom to cast as Vernon and as the Kansas City prostitute with the heart of gold (you KNOW that when Hollywood gets through with this there'll be a Kansas City prostitute with a heart of gold).

Postby Geno Munari » 12/02/01 06:22 AM

Good choices....and your right.
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 12/02/01 11:18 AM

Speaking of Center Deals, you can see the legendary Mike Skinner perform "Vernon's Pseudo Center Deal" on Vol. 2 of THE LEGENDARY REPERTOIRE OF MICHAEL SKINNER, tapes put out by Geno Munari. This are wonderful, archival tapes: mostly pure demonstrations. They also show Skinner's remarkable eclectic taste. All of the material is worth knowing and doing. In fact, after viewing the tape I went back to several of the great routines I once did and have started doing them again.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/02/01 08:19 PM

The article on Vernon and Allen Kennedy by Karl Johnson was NOT a reprint of the article which appeared in "American Heritage," but a greatly expanded version of it--thousands of words longer and with a great deal more detail.
There seem to be at least a dozen or more people who can do the Allen Kennedy Center Deal fairly well at this point, so perhaps it is not as hard as has been portrayed.
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Postby Guest » 12/03/01 04:38 AM

For my part, I did say "procuring and expanding." Re the dozen or more people who can do the move, the element of legend and exaggeration surrounding the sleight doesn't surprise me; still, how many of these individuals would have the guts/chops/motivation to center-deal under controlled, hard-nosed gambling conditions?

BTW, one magician I know who does gambling expose routines looks down on the sleight, asserting that its major drawback is the absence of a drawback (of the top card, that is). As the article notes, the deal declines in deceptiveness when one deals forward to a confederate or opponent across the table.

Although I'm trying to have fun with the casting question, I am genuinely curious as to whether film rights are being discussed. The legend as Vernon presented it is a great yarn, as is the journalistic effort to sort the legend out.


Postby Guest » 12/03/01 08:02 PM

Perhaps the word "reprint" is inaccurate.

The essence of the article is the same as the "American Heritage" article, but it definitly is much expanded over the original.

At any rate, I enjoyed this article more than just about any other in Genii, and by replying to you, Richard, I get to say "Thanks" twice.

Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/03/01 10:17 PM

Thanks for your "thanks" ... twice!
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Postby Countelmsley » 12/17/01 01:33 PM

Geno, make sure you cast Ricky Jay somewhere in there...
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Postby Guest » 12/17/01 04:19 PM

I suspect Jay would wind up playing Kennedy, although it'd be more fun to give him a less obvious role.

Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/17/01 04:33 PM

Wasn't there something on the tube recently where Johnny Thompson played the Professor? As I recall, he did a wonderful job, and the makeup was quite well done.

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Postby Steve Bryant » 12/17/01 04:47 PM

That was in Lance Burton's On the Road special, when Lance and co. visited The Magic Castle. It was great.
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Postby Pete Biro » 12/19/01 07:36 PM

Johnny Thompson does a great Vernon... but Ricky ?? He could be Charlie Miller maybe, but to get him you gotta have Mamet Direct the film.

Frankly (Kaufmann may kill me for this) but the best MOVIE would be from the Erdnase book that JB published...
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Postby David Nethery » 04/27/02 03:30 PM

Mamet directing works for me.

I would cast Johnny Depp as Vernon.

Philip Seymour Hoffman as Charlie Miller.
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Postby Terry » 04/28/02 04:50 AM

My suggestion for the Professor...Robin Williams. Some of the later pictures of the Professor shows a real twinkle in the eye and you can see the wheels spinning, same type of thing when you watch Robin.
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Postby Charlie Chang » 04/28/02 05:50 AM

If you are interested, here is middle deal demonstration that I use for poker players.

Have a deck shuffled and run through the cards face up until you spot any Ace around the middle of the deck. Point out this card in the middle, close up the spread taking a break one card beneath it, and perform a turn over pass as the deck is turned face down - the card is now second from the top.

Show top and bottom cards as you explain how cards can be dealt from the middle. Say "it looks like this" as you deal the top card down onto the table. Get a break under the new top card as you pick up the tabled card and replace it on top. Say "how did that look?" They will not believe you did the deal. Double turn over to show the Ace you showed in the middle.

Offer to do it again. Turn the double down and insert the top card into the center from the back (the short end nearest you) Do this clearly.

Square deck and repeat deal. Pick up card and show it. The first phase receives little more than a demand to do it again but when they see this phase the reaction is very strong.

Perform a top change as they react and insert the card back into the middle in the same manner. Deal down again and show the card.

Finally, insert the card into the deck FACE UP using tilt to set it under the top card. Second deal onto the table to end.

This is simply a presentation for a short Ambitious Card but it works very well. If you like, have them name any card in the middle rather than select one yourself.

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Postby Tom Dobrowolski » 04/29/02 06:30 AM

Great sequence. Thanks for posting it !!
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Postby Curtis Kam » 04/29/02 09:35 PM

Ditto. Paul, the sequence made me smile out loud. I just ran through it, doing my best Michael Skinner impression. (How else?)
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Postby Guest » 10/08/06 04:36 AM

It is no use casting actors as Vernon. Hal Holbrooke did it in "Shade". His presentation was not as good as Thompson's but was more dignified.

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